While it is interesting to pick a coach with little international experience to head the U.S. Olympic team, when that coach groomed the lead point guard — the head of the team on the court — what will it matter? Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma was officially named Team USA’s coach for the 2012 London Games and two-time Olympic medalist Sue Bird (pictured right with ball) answered a few questions about why he’s a good fit.
Many believed a different Connecticut coach, the Sun’s Mike Thibault, would be tapped for the voluntary position. The selection committee, however, omitted a rule stating the Olympic coach had to have WNBA experience, clearing the way for Auriemma.
Bird, the Storm’s PG, is of course well versed in the international game, currently playing for Spartak Moscow and having played on dozen of National Team rosters. Doubt Auriemma will have any trouble, but his former Husky PG could back him up if needed.
The Q&A;below was provided by USA Basketball:
Bird about Geno Auriemma:
What are your thoughts on Geno Auriemma being named head coach of the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team program?
Coach Auriemma is just an all around great person and coach and I’m so happy for him that he’s getting this opportunity. I couldn’t think of a someone who is more deserving or more perfect for this position. I know how badly he wanted this job and so there is no doubt that he’s going to be great at it and bring the same winning attitude that he’s developed & mastered at Connecticut.
Are you excited about reuniting with Coach Auriemma and playing for him again?
I’m so excited to have the opportunity to play for Coach again. There isn’t anyone who I’d rather play for. I trust him completely and know he’s going to have us playing at our best and keep the USA Basketball tradition going. I also know we’re going to enjoy the entire experience with him in charge because there is no one better at being serious when it’s time to be serious, but also no one better at having fun when it’s time to have fun. I have no doubt that reuniting with him is going to be amazing.
What does he bring to the sideline that makes him such a successful coach?
Coach Auriemma is the best at bringing out the most in his players. He has this uncanny ability to know exactly what his team needs and what each individual needs to be a success. He’s also very confident in what he does and his teams tend to take on his personality. Not to mention he has a great basketball mind and is always a few steps ahead of everyone in everything.